He’s been on their radar for more than a year, but has managed to evade them all along. However, more than 14 months after they got a subtle hint about Salim’s hush-hush international human trafficking network, the Delhi Police claim they are hot on his trail.
“A team has just returned from Mumbai. The houses of Salim and one Zakir have been identified and their addresses verified. We will nab them soon,” said RA Sanjeev, DCP, Indira Gandhi International Airport.
While Salim is a resident of Lokhandwala near Andheri, Zakir’s residence in south Mumbai’s Mohammad Ali Road has also been identified and is under surveillance, said an investigating official.
On January 15, the Delhi Police had arrested four men, including one with an MBA degree, for allegedly helping around 1,000 Indians illegally travel to the United States from the jungles of Mexico via Guatemala.
The arrests came following investigations into a bag containing 105 passports, found by the customs department in February last year, but handed over to the police only in November.
“We suspect that Salim and Zakir have been running the racket for nearly three years (since late 2009). The involvement of some Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials as well as airline employees can’t be ruled out,” an official said.
Police said Salim’s role in the Guatemala-Mexico-US trafficking network had first come to light on November 3, 2010, when one Adil Vali Mohammad was arrested at IGIA and 32 passports were recovered from him.
On April 2, 2011, an agent from Gujarat and five of his clients were arrested for allegedly being part of the same network. “Navin Chand Upadhyay, an IB official, and Manoj Soparwal, a Jet Airways employee, were also involved. Zakir had also been arrested in the case, but was given bail after four months. This time, we have got non-bailable warrants against him and Salim,” the officer added.